No one should be shocked to hear that Americans are putting little trust in banks these days, as Scott Malone of Reuters reported on Tuesday. “Just 25 percent of Americans and 16 percent of Britons said they trusted banks to do the right thing,” he writes based on the 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer.
The institutions that Americans closely associate with the financial crisis still have not regained the public’s confidence, and may not for quite some time. But building that confidence in the institution may not be essential to building back the business.
What’s more important is building trust between consumers and the sales professionals they interact with on a day-to-day business. In other words, consumers don’t necessarily need to believe in Citibank, but they need to trust Tom the mortgage banker who is making the loan. In turn, the confidence he instills in consumers can inspire greater trust in the company he represents.
At Stik.com we think that familiarity is a prerequisite for trust. So we help link up consumers with mortgage bankers, realtors, financial advisors etc., whom they share social connections with on Facebook. If Tom is not only a mortgage banker at Citibank, but also our high school buddy’s college classmate, there is a level of trust developing and easily deepened with referrals and recommendations.
We’re certainly not the only ones who think this way. Business News Daily’s Brian Anthony Hernandez writes in his 2011 social media predictions that: “Now more than ever, customers and clients expect businesses to interact with them, and businesses’ reputations can hinge on how they respond to comments criticizing their products or services on social media.”
Banks, like all consumer-driven businesses after a public relations disaster, will seek to restore their public image, but they’d be smart to invest more time in building consumer trust in their front-line sales staff.